Run time: 87 min. | USA | Language: English, Japanese
HAFU is more than a documentary about mixed race Japanese, or so called Hafu. This film challenges the "one nation, one culture, one race" identity that has shaped much of contemporary Japan's self-image. Co-directors Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi, both Hafu themselves, render visible the hardships of people who do not fit comfortably into categories of belonging, and offer them a platform to be heard. People whose looks do not match their nationality.
Most of their subjects grew up in Japan, but cannot escape the role of the foreign other. As a Venezuelan citizen, Ed has to renew his visa every few years, despite being raised by his Japanese mother in Japan. Each time he is confronted with his identification as an outsider to Japanese society and the prospect of being expelled from the country he calls home. Fusae is part of that same community of "foreigners within." Part Korean and part Japanese, she appears with a strong sense of belonging at first. With a deeper look however, Fusae expresses the traumatic experience of being mixed race in Japan and the inner turmoil that defines the lives of many other Hafu. David was born to a Japanese father and Ghanaian mother, who surprised the other kids with the fact that his blood was not green, but red like theirs. Sophia grew up in Australia ashamed of her bento box lunch and secretly wishing to be blonde like her classmates. Each of these Hafu share the longing to belong. Not just to be acknowledged, but to be understood and accepted. This film is an important step toward that process.
Co-Director Megumi Nishikura expected in attendance for post film Q&A.
Asian Arts Initiative (View)
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107